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Review: Rolf Kauka's Once Upon a Time

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One of my readers informed me about Rolf Kauka's Once Upon a Time, an obscure German animated adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale "Frau Holle." After a quick search, I was pleased to discover that someone had uploaded a nostalgic VHS recording of the entire film on YouTube. The animation reminded me of the old Disney knock-off tapes I used to watch when I was a child, but the storytelling and music were several notches higher in quality. Since there are no other famous adaptations of this fairy tale, I can see that the filmmakers worked very hard to do it justice. They did a terrific job for the time period and what I can only assume was a humble budget. The story has a lot of heart and a unique presentation. What sets Once Upon a Time apart from other animated fairy tales is that it completely excludes the protagonist from the first ten minutes of the movie. "Frau Holle," the story it is based on, is similar to "Cinderella" in the regard that …

Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Jewel Riders!

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On September 10th, 1995, our televisions were graced with the amazing adventures of Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders. This show has a lot of special meaning to me. It was one of my earliest obsessions, and I loved everything about it--the story, the music, the costumes, the setting, the artwork... Everything! Many of my other favorite princesses had live celebrations for their anniversaries over the years that I was fortunate enough to attend. Thanks to my friends at the Jewel Riders Archive, Princess Gwenevere will not be forgotten either. The archive kicked off their year-long anniversary celebration one year ago today with a podcast that I participated in with them and some of the other founding members of the fandom. Today, in honor of the 25th anniversary, we recorded a brand new podcast for all of you to enjoy filled with our favorite memories of the show.
I have to admit that I enjoyed recording this podcast even more than the last one. Ronnie and Chris of the Jewel Rider…

Travel Through Time with These Female-Driven Historical Dramas

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Believe it or not, History was one of my least favorite classes in school. I hated learning about wars and conquerors and men who made boring tax laws. Yet, without history, we wouldn't have princesses to weave into the fairy tales we tell today. Due to being home a lot lately, I spent the last few weeks binging historical dramas that focused on important female figures. I found that they were far more interesting than the things I learned about in school. These shows have gorgeous eye candy. The character dress in extravagant gowns that you would never see in modern culture. As a companion piece to my "Princess Shows to Binge in Your Tower" post, I thought it would be interesting to put all the historical dramas I've watched into chronological order to create a clearer picture of how women in power have evolved over time. Some of these are a bit of a stretch since the educational value doesn't always trump the entertainment value. Time travel shows are a lot of …

Story Saturday: The Duel

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This is one of four bonus chapters I am including in my digital box set for The Stolen Trilogy that was released yesterday on Amazon. It takes place around the middle of my book The Stolen Jewel and is about Princess Charlotte's love interest, Prince Braydon, and Lily's love interest from The Stolen Queen, Lord Henry, having a fencing match. I did the teeniest bit of research for it, so some of the details may be off. If you enjoyed this chapter, you can purchase The Stolen Jewel on Amazon to read the book it came from or The Stolen Queen to read the sequel about Lily and Henry. You can also sign up for my mailing list to read about my other books and learn more about future projects."The Duel"Growing up surrounded by the women in his family, Henry felt that it was his responsibility to protect them from potential threats. Now that there were two threats living under the same roof as them, he needed to be more cautious than ever. He trained every day in the fields an…

Review: Mulan (Live-Action 2020)

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It's been well over a year since the first live-action Mulan teaser. As of today, the latest Disney remake is now available on Disney+ as their first premier access original. That means that for $29.99, less than what the cost of a day at the theater for the average family, you can add the new Mulan to your Disney+ library to watch as many times as you want. There have been some complaints about the additional fee to the paid subscription service, but it was something Disney needed to do in order to even come close to making back their budget after the film got delayed from its March 27th release due to COVID-19 complications. If you don't think it's worth paying extra, the movie will be added to the regular Disney+ catalog on December 4th for no additional charge. After watching it myself, I have to admit that it probably is not worth the extra fee to stream it early unless you are a die-hard fan of the Ballad of Hua Mulan or want to help support Disney's COVID losses…

Review: Barbie Princess Adventure

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Princess Barbie is back with a modern new makeover. Barbie Princess Adventure premiered on Netflix today, and it made me miss the old Barbie more than ever. This musical princess adventure played like an extended episode of the Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures series rather than a remake of the fantastic Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper movie from 2004. If anything, it was an animated version of Netflix's The Princess Switch from 2018 with songs inspired by Disney's 2006 High School Musical. It was more modern than Barbie's 2012 princess doppleganger remake, The Princess and the Popstar, speaking to a new generation of girls who grew up surrounded by technology and social media. I understand that I am far from the target age group for this movie, but I feel like movies set in modern times will inevitably feel dated over time, whereas those set in an era long past like The Princess and the Pauper come off as classic and timeless.
Barbie Princess Adventure begins when Barbie…

Review: The Rose and the Thorn

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"Beauty and the Beast" is a fairy tale that princess fans never get tired of. Its gothic setting, intrigue, and romance are staples of any good princess story. The most famous novel adaptation is Beauty by Robin McKinley, but there are plenty of others that are just as good. I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a more recent retelling on Twitter called The Rose and the Thorn by Katherine Macdonald. This book shares some common threads with Enchantment by Camille Peters, another "Beauty and the Beast" adaptation I read recently, but unlike that version, it does not overlook the main theme of seeing beyond physical appearances. The "Beast" character in this book is cursed to appear to the world as a monster just like the one in the fairy tale and even picks up some of the violent tendencies of his beastly outer shell once a month, similar to werewolf mythology. However, the book has very little violence overall. Like most "Beauty and the Beast" …

Yes, We Will See These Princess Movies in September!

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After much speculation and delay, three princess movies that once had uncertain futures are now officially coming to streaming services next month. Two will be on Disney+, and the third will stream on Netflix. We now have confirmed release dates for these movies with new trailers and previews released for all three within the last week to build up excitement for the next month. The traditional November of princess events and releases probably won't happen this year, so September is going to the final frontier of princess movies for 2020. With the current stigma against going outside, streaming services will become the primary medium for all our princess content, at least for a while. Of the three princess movies coming out next month, none has suffered more with its release than the live-action remake of Mulan. Disney desperately wanted this to be a theatrical release, which is clear from the fact that they delayed it three times before ultimately deciding to make it an optional pu…

Elena Is Crowned Queen of Avalor

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It's been four years since Disney introduced us to their first Latina princess, Elena of Avalor. Today, her reign on Disney Channel ends as she takes her place on the throne as queen. Elena's show had a rocky start for me, but it hit its peak somewhere around the second season. Today's finale movie, Coronation Day, serves as an excellent reminder of all the things it did right. Elena of Avalor has an enormous revolving cast of diverse characters, which can make the show hard to follow for a casual observer. Everyone in the series showed up to celebrate Elena's coronation, reminding us how much work went into building this enormous extended universe of kingdoms that began with Sofia the First. In addition to its evergrowing familia, the show introduced lots of Aztec mythology that I was not familiar with and some fun new mythological creatures like the jaquins, Avalor's answer to Enchancia's flying horses. This is truly the end of an era as it marks the last ani…